The local health unit is letting residents know about the presence of a bloom of blue-green algae impacting the west side of Kahshe Lake.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced Wednesday that laboratory analysis has confirmed the algea is impacting the lake in Gravenhurst.

According to the SMDHU, many species of blue-green algae – also called cyanobacteria – have the potential to produce toxins that are harmful to the health of humans and animals when exposed in large amounts.

The health unit says to with the confirmed presence of the bloom, it is asking residents and visitors to exercise caution in regard to the toxins which may also be present.

As a precautionary measure, the health unit urges people to not drink water from this lake where blue-green algae are visible and to take the following precautions:

  • Do not use the lake water for the preparation of infant formula
  • Do not allow pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water where an algae bloom is visible
  • Be cautious about eating fish caught in water where blue-green algae blooms occur
  • Do not use herbicides, copper sulphate or other algaecides that may break open algae cells and release toxins into the water
  • Avoid water sport activities where algae bloom is visible

The Health Unit also encourages you to seek medical attention if symptoms like skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur while in contact with the bloom.

Anyone who comes into contact with the algae should wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Swimming, bathing or showering with water not visibly affected by a blue-green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects.

The health unit and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks will continue to work together to monitor the algal bloom.

Updates will be provided on the health unit’s website.